By the Spring of 1997, Total Annihilation was shaping up nicely and the public was about to get its first glimpse of the game. Our first magazine previews, print ads and E3 were just around the corner. We'd known from the start that the game couldn't be released under the wholesome family-friendly Humongous label. It wouldn't make sense for their audience, or the one we were hoping to reach with TA. This didn't stop some of us from drawing pictures of Putt Putt bristling with guns. A new name and a completely different image would be required.
Chris and I tossed around ideas for names from the start, but nothing jumped out at us. We opened it up to ideas from the whole company.
I compiled all the suggestions that rolled in. We heard some standard software developer-ish sounding names with "mega" and "soft" in the name. A couple programmers raided the element chart, submitting ideas like "cobalt" and "boron" Since we worked in the Pacific Northwest near Seattle, we heard plenty of pleasant names incorporating rain, fish, mountains and more fish. After sifting through these, Chris and I narrowed it down to two choices: Cavedog Entertainment and Frozen Yak Entertainment, both of which were his contributions.
We liked both names. I did some crude doodles in my notepad during a meeting.
I fleshed them out a bit more at home that evening. Here is a rough Cavedog.
These two pictures were pinned up on the wall of the office Chris and I shared. It was put to a vote, and Cavedog won by a narrow margin. The pooch was ready for prime time. That sorry looking Frozen Yak wasn't completely lost. It was unearthed as part of an April Fools joke on the Cavedog website about a year later.
The Cavedog logo ended up on all the usual things like business cards, letterhead, hats and the all-important t-shirts. I've done a lot of logos over the years. I still think this is one of my better efforts. I wanted to evoke paleolithic cave paintings, while keeping the lines simple enough to stand out, even when printed very small.
It did. I was relaxing at home in 2000, watching my favorite family entertainment, The Sopranos. It was season two, episode seven... the one called D-Girl. Toward the end of the episode, Sal "Big Pussy" Bompensiero was having a heart-to-heart with AJ in his room when something in the background caught my eye.
And there you have it. My small supporting role in television history. It's fitting that the Cavedog shared some screen time with the Big Pussy character, since both would be bumped off within the year.